Today is beautiful – sunny, and warm – a day where the sky seems to stretch forever, and the trees all vibrate with a green one shade away from surreal.
The world always seems to shine a little brighter on your day.
Momma, it’s Mother’s Day and I am just past 7 months pregnant. I sometimes get really scared that I won’t know how to be a momma because you aren’t here anymore.
I can’t phone you when I’m worried about things (silly or serious) or ask you about pregnancy symptoms.
(At week 28 did it feel like someone did a wind-up soccer kick straight to your right groin?)
We can’t share stories, laughs and tears as I muddle my way through this wonderful and bizarre journey.
And you can’t come and visit me after this wee babe is born. To hold and to sing to them.
To continue to share stories, laughs and tears.
Sometimes I get so jealous of other women who are newly pregnant or mums themselves – both friends and strangers – who get this chance.
In these moments it feels like I have lightning in my belly and sand in my eyes and I want to scream, “You don’t know how lucky you are!”
What’s funny is that, in order to get myself out of this space, I have to do my yoga breathing (the yoga breathing you taught me to do, over and over and over again).
Momma, you are with me when I am upset about not having you.
That’s a pretty good trick you have.
Momma, it’s also that I am blessed to know so many amazing mums who are keeping close and showing me many beautiful examples of motherhood.
They also help clear the sand from my eyes.
Four of these mothers are also my sisters:
Jessi, who has the strength of a tiger, the endurance of an ostrich and the iron will of a wolf, so that no matter what is happening in the world – micro or macro – she leads and loves like a warrior. (I’ll let you guess which of these animals is also representative of her beauty.)
Kate, whose patience and calm floor me each and every day, whose quiet and understated, but never underrepresented, compassion and kindness has brought me back from the brink too many times to count, and who sees the gentle beauty and humour in everything.
Mel, whose big heart burns with such a tangible love, you swear you can see it colour the corners of a room – a magic only matched by her creativity and unique characteristics that leave her kids (and everyone else) is stitches.
Vanessa, who radiates a love and an authenticity so nurturing and nourishing, she makes it impossible to feel alone or like you’ve done something wrong. (She also brings this light to the world on a chronic lack of sleep, which makes her words, laughter and heart ever the more special.)
So there you go momma.
It’s Mother’s Day.
Thanks for helping me see the beauty of your day.
And the beauty of all mothers just a little brighter too.
As you might have heard, we’re living in unprecedented times. It seems like every day things get a little more surreal and I find it very hard not to let the waves of uncertainty and panic get the best of me.
You know – how it’s been for the last thirty-five years of my life?
I’ve really been practicing my yoga breathing, especially at night as I lie in bed falling asleep.
(I haven’t been so much practicing my yoga yoga, but in all honestly, with the way things are going, it’s very likely that I’ll be unrolling your mat and switching on YouTube so that I can start.)
I thought you would be so proud of me – signing up for prenatal yoga classes at my local community centre. They were to start in April and be my new Sunday morning routine, a new twist on my weekend workout.
A marker of how much I’ve matured over the past five and a bit months as this little babe has grown inside of me.
Yes, that’s right momma, I’m having a baby.
I’m having a baby during a pandemic.
Doesn’t that sound wild?
I really wish that we could chat on the phone. Just hearing your voice would be reassuring – a little break from our ever-churning news cycle.
We could talk about what’s happening in the Maritimes and our palpable relief that the US-Canada border has officially (or as close as we’re going to get) closed.
I know you’d also love our Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. She’s brilliant and badass, compassionate and calm. Sometimes I get choked up just listening to her, because she reminds me of you.
All courageous, smart and strong women do.
Remember how sensitive and emotional I’ve always been? Well, multiply that by about seventeen, what with all these hormones coursing about my body.
As much as my heart aches that you’re not here momma, there is a part of me that’s slightly relieved. I am so glad that you don’t need to navigate the health care system and deal with chemo appointments or rescheduled blood work, and the unease of heading into hospitals with your compromised immune system.
If something were to happen to you now, and Kate and I and our families couldn’t get to you, I don’t know what I would do. My heart is so sore for the families that are not able to reunite for those moments that I am certain that mine would shatter if put in the same situation.
I’m also trying not to let it bother me that Marc isn’t allowed to come to anymore of my appointments.
My twenty-week ultrasound was yesterday, and he was relegated to the parking lot as I got to see and say hello to our little one.
It will be the same for our midwife appointment today, and all future meetings going forward.
I’ve been trying to get him to feel the little kicks that have slowly begun to get stronger over the past week, but sometimes I think the babe is a bit of a trickster because they will immediately stop moving as soon as he puts his hand on my tummy.
Even now as I write this, I can feel them dancing about. I think they may be saying hello.
Momma, I also want you to know how well I am taking care of myself. I was so afraid coming into this pregnancy that I wouldn’t be able to move outside of my eating disorder and the unshakeable parameters that have ruled my life for so many years.
I’m so happy to say that it’s been the exact opposite.
For the first time ever, I get excited about preparing and eating food. I relish and take pleasure in nourishing my body.
I’m still exercising a lot, but purposefully. I’m always listening to how my body feels and modifying when I need to.
Turns out too, that the only way I was ever going to buy new workout clothing was to get pregnant. Should have learned this a long time ago, because man can a good pair of high-waisted leggings really set you off on a high.
I’m always learning momma.
I’m learning how to be a momma.
I wish you could see me.
I wish you could teach me.
I wish you could keep me safe and brush my hair and tell me that it’s all going to be okay.
I have a question for all of you beautiful people:
Do any of you nutters have kids?
Full disclosure: I am not with child.
I’m just curious that’s all. You see, there is a kid, currently located just outside of my kitchen window, who has been crying and screaming its absolute head off for say, the past fifteen, twenty minutes.
And this is not a baby, we’re talking about here. We are talking a legitimate, walking, talking human being – one who is weeping for all of Canada. He probably has a full set of teeth, takes trips to the loo solo, and can choose his outfits in the morning.
Having listened to him wail on and on for the last little bit, I just want to lean out of my window and holler, “WHAT’S THE PROBLEM KID? THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL! THERE. IS. NO. CRYING. IN. BASEBALL!!!11!!
AND GET OFF MY LAWN.
I mean, that’s pretty horrible of me, is it not?
I am definitely the worst.
And it is reactions of mine – like this one just described – that make me fear for the day (should I be blessed in the properly functioning uterine department) that I become a mother.
I just can’t imagine that scenario working out all too well.
For one, I have zero maternal instinct.
No, minus zero.
I have never, ever, had that “twinge” – when, after having glimpsed some beautiful scene where a glowing mother cuddles here gorgeous offspring – something inside of me says “I want that.”
To be honest, most of the time everything inside my entire being begins screaming, “DO NOT WANT. COMMENCE THROWING UTERUS IN GARBAGE DISPOSAL.”
I mean, sure, there are moments where I concede that it wouldn’t be so bad. In fact, the people I know and love who have kids make it look downright phenomenal. There are tons of great children out there, and seeing how many of the cool cats in my life love their kids is darn cool.
Plus I keep telling myself that I probably wouldn’t feel the same way about my child as I do about many of the random children I come into contact with – that being mostly terror, confusion, and incredulity.
Deep down I know I would definitely love the crap out of them.
But I still worry.
I worry for a number of reasons (above and beyond the fact that I seem to have pawned off my biological clock sometime in the early 90s for two Kitkat bars, some sour keys, and a copy of Kirby’s Dreamland for my Gameboy.)
The first and mayhaps the biggest?
I just don’t get babies.
I made it through about 4 minutes of this movie before turning it off:
Like seriously, people go absolutely bat shit CRAZY over babies. Not only that, but they go bonkers over baby paraphernalia.
WHAT THE HECK PEOPLE?
It makes me think that babies have some magical power to get you stoned. (Just think about it -marijuana gets you high, and potheads LOVE them some weed leaf stickers, Bob Marley posters, and giant decorative bongs – so I’ve come to the conclusion that it must be the same for those crazed baby-lovers.)
And if it isn’t for their ability to get you high, how else could people possibly care about a tiny pair of socks or a facecloth with a frog on it?
WHAT DO YOU PEOPLE KNOW THAT I DON’T?
And in terms of the baby itself – I too need this explained. Babies are small, foreign, angry old men or women, hell bent on breaking your ear drums, defecating mustard gas, and peeing all over every square inch of your life.
This is terrifying!
Seriously, their catchphrase could be – “BABIES: POOP GRENADES ONLY NOW WITH MORE POOP.”
And yet people think they are the bees knees.
And don’t tell me it’s because of their new baby smell.
I’ve smelled me some babies in my life and I know for a FACT that it’s not all cake and roses.
I worry that I’ll have a baby, and the baby will all be “I’m a baby SCREAM POOP PEE EAT SLEEP HAHAHAH JUST JOKING I’M NEVER GOING TO SLEEP SCREEEEAAAAAMMMMMM” to which I’ll just be like, “You, sir, are an arsehole, BUH BYE.”
I worry that I’ll have the baby, and the baby will all be, “BABY” and I’ll be like, “That’s all you got? Where the frick is the rest!? I JUST SPENT NINE MONTHS MAKING YOU – ENTERTAIN ME SPAWN!!!”
I worry that I will be the worst mother ever.
So what I guess I’m saying is that I worry.
I worry that I’ll give my kid the eating disorder that I struggled with for years; that I’ll give them the anxiety that I deal with on a daily basis; that I’ll make them think they need make-up to be beautiful because I too like to wear make-up; that I’ll drop them on their head the second I get home.
I worry about the unknown – what about my job? What about my relationship?
What about my body?
I worry about worrying about my body.
But throughout it all, I have one ace in the hole that makes all of these questions seem not quite so daunting.
That one person who makes me worry just a little less.
And that, of course, is Mr. M.
My freaking knight in shining armour.
Because somehow (and I have no idea how) he doesn’t have any of these doubts. He just knows. He has confidence in not only himself, but in me, and it is through him that I have started to believe, little by little, that one day, if this happens, it will be just grand.
And while I’m not necessarily at the same level of belief that he cooly-as-a-cucumber maintains, I have the belief that I will get there, eventually.
Because when I see him with children? That’s when I feel something flicker.
I imagine him and I giving piggybacks, and leaping through sprinklers; teaching small, wild haired munchkins about tidal pools and earthworms, making mud pies, and reading storybooks by flashlight.
And it gives me pause.
But who knows – maybe one day all of what I currently feel about myself, and my relationship with my yet-to-be-born babies will change. I will wake up, flick on the internet and order the newest poo grenade and pay extra for the express shipping.
But until that day, my questions remain.
As does my love.
Unlike, thank goodness, the echoes of the crying child, outside of my window.